With the temperatures starting to rise and summer just around the corner, we decided it was definitely that time of year again – time to take a look at the best ice cream shops in Richmond! As you may know if you follow our Best of Richmond series, each year we like to find the best local spots for delicious, homemade ice cream. You may even remember (and frequent) some of our past favorites, including Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream, Gelati Celesti, Charm School, Scoop, and many others. And while these shops still make the cut when it comes to Richmond’s best ice cream, we’ve got a few newcomers to add to our ever-growing list this year.
As always, when choosing places to feature in our Best of Richmond series, we like to have a set of standards to help guide our choices. In the case of the best ice cream shops in Richmond, we looked for spots that offered the following features:
- Plenty of creative flavors
- Ice cream that is made in-house or locally sourced
- Options for everyone – from other sweet treats to sundaes
Once again, we found the hardest part of the process was narrowing down the options! But we’re happy to say that the following five ice cream shops in Richmond delivered all that we were looking for – and more.
So whether you’re looking for a place to treat the kids at the end of the school year, need a local ice cream go-to to help beat the summer heat, or like us, you simply love ice cream, these are five spots you won’t want to miss. Give them a try and let us know what you think! And of course, if you have a favorite that you don’t see on one of our best ice cream shops in Richmond lists, be sure to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We always love to hear about your local favorites.
In the meantime, treat yourself to something sweet with our latest and greatest list of the best ice cream shops in Richmond!
When we talk about unique ice cream choices, TJ-Petal is exactly the kind of place we have in mind. This relative newcomer is located at Chesterfield Town Center and offers a crazy selection of flavors and options. Far from your standard ice cream shop, this Asian-inspired ice cream shop and creperie offers something for every palate. From both sweet and savory crepe options should you want a meal AND a dessert to their super-fun “light bulb drinks” (specialty flavors served in “light bulb” container), TJ-Petal is a must-try for ice cream lovers everywhere.
Why we love them: At TJ-Petal you get more than ice cream, you get a full experience. Start with a base ice cream (available in chocolate, vanilla, Green Tea, or Thai Tea flavors), then add a fresh toppings such as fruit, Oreos, marshmallow, graham crackers, etc, and finally, top your customized creation off with a “drizzle” of chocolate syrup, caramel, Nutella, and more. But the really cool part? TJ-Petal specializes in rolled ice cream. If you don’t know what rolled ice cream is, then just think of it as art that you can eat. Ice cream is placed on cold stone, mixed in with toppings to create new flavors like strawberry and mango, then smoothed out and skillfully shaped into rolls that are as beautiful as they are delicious.
Chesterfield Town Center
11500 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, VA 23235
Monday-Saturday, 10pm – 9:30pm; Sundays, 12pm – 9:30pm
If you don’t already know about Richmond Ice Creamery and you don’t know where to look for it, you might miss it. But don’t worry…we’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen! This unique ice cream stand is located inside of Kung Fu Tea on Grace Street in downtown Richmond. While Kung Fu Tea is part of a national chain, the Grace Street franchise is locally owned and operated and Richmond Ice Creamery is a special part of the owner’s vision to bring delicious, unique ice cream flavors to the Richmond community. All of their ice creams are made in-house using a special process to ensure the ultimate in creaminess and flavor. And trust us, you won’t be disappointed!
Why we love them: Like TJ-Petal, Richmond Ice Creamery pulls from Asian influences to create their flavor-packed ice cream options. Best of all, they offer both dairy-free and vegan options which means that no one has to be left out when it comes to enjoying a frozen treat. Their flavors include classics like cookies and cream, strawberry, and dark chocolate – but where Richmond Ice Creamery really shines is with their specialty flavors, including Taro, Thai Tea, Vietnamese Coffee, and Charcoal Coconut; as well as their non-dairy, vegan-friendly options that include Creamy Coconut, Mango Coconut Snow, and Matcha.
Inside Kung Fu Tea
946 W Grace St, Richmond, VA 23220
Open daily, 5pm – 9:30pm (Summer Hours)
You may already be familiar with North End Juice Co., a Museum district favorite for fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, and health-conscious food options. But what you might not know is that since 2017, North End Market and Gelato has been part of this growing business, offering gelato in both traditional and vegan-friendly flavors. If you don’t know the difference between ice cream and gelato, the quick explanation is this: traditional ice cream uses a custard base of milk, cream, sugar, and (typically) egg yolks. Gelato, which is really just the Italian word for ice cream, starts with a similar custard base, but uses more milk and less cream, as well as fewer eggs, if any. Gelato is also churned slower than ice cream, resulting in a denser, but ultra creamy consistency. At the end of the day, gelato usually has fewer calories and less fat than ice cream – making it the obvious choice for a North End Juice Co. spin-off.
Why we love them: North End Market may be a small shop with only a few tables and limited hours, but that doesn’t stop it from being a go-to for many. In fact, if you happen to stop by and the market is closed, just pop in to North End Juice Co. next door and ask for some gelato and their friendly staff will be happy to head over to the shop and scoop some up. In addition to their gelato and vegan-friendly sorbet (which is made with coconut milk instead of whole milk), they also offer grilled cheese, soups, handheld savory pies, and baked goods. But if it’s sweetness you’re after, get ready for fantastic ever-rotating flavors like Carrot Cake, Green Superfood, or Spicy Pineapple Ginger. And of course, if you’re a traditionalist, they’ve got your covered with the classics like Vanilla Bean, chocolate, and more. Get your favorite flavors in a cone, or turn them into a sundae, ice cream sandwich, or milkshake. You may even want to take a pint to go!
718 N. Cleveland St, Richmond, VA 23221
North End Juice Co.: Monday-Friday, 7:30am-4:30pm; Saturday-Sunday 8am-4:30pm; call for North End Market and Gelato hours
This year’s ice cream list seems to be focused on international influences, but as you’ll see with La Michoacana, it’s for a good reason. This Mexican ice cream shop serves up some of the freshest and most delicious ice cream you’ll find anywhere. Their creamy, homemade recipes include ice creams and sorbets in exotic flavors like rum with raisins, mango and chili, watermelon, coconut, and queso (that’s right…as in the cheese!), as well as classics like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Needless to say, there’s a flavor for everyone!
Why we love them: While La Michoacana offers standard scoops, cones, and cups, what really sets them apart are their Paletas, a traditional Mexican ice cream popsicle. These mouthwatering, handheld treats consist of ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet frozen in unique flavors like cotton candy, or frozen with large chunks of fresh fruit, cookies, and more. While flavors frequently change, some of the options you might find include lime, strawberry, dry fruit, pineapple, tamarind, soursop, and Jicama…just to name a few. And if you really want to try something different, be sure to order the Mangonada – a traditional fruit drink consisting of fresh mango covered in chamoy sauce and chili.
7808 Midlothian Turnpike, Ste B, Richmond, Virginia 23235
Open daily, 11am – 10pm
When we said we would be featuring some newcomers on our list, we meant it. Coco + Hazel is truly the newest thing on the ice cream scene, having only opened it’s doors in mid-April of this year…yes, as in last month. But once you try it, you’ll see why this newbie is making such a splash. Featuring breakfast bakery items, espresso, and their one-of-a-kind ice cream concoctions, Coco + Hazel is, undoubtedly, here to stay. This all-new shop located in Tuckahoe Shopping Center has made larger-than-life milkshakes their specialty. Wonder what that means? Well, just picture “The MHB”: a chocolate milk shake swirled with peanut butter, topped with a full slice of chocolate peanut butter pie, whipped cream, and peanut butter cups, served in a peanut butter and M&M rimmed glass. Enough said.
Why we love them: When co-owners Chelle and Omar Bravo set out to do something different with their ice cream and espresso concept, they dreamed big. This has resulted not only in toppings that include slices of coconut cream and chocolate-peanut butter pies, churros, cotton candy, confetti cake, black-and-white and sprinkle cookies, and stacks of brownies, but menu items like “The Family Challenge”, six scoops of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry), four sprinkle dipped waffle cones, hot fudge, strawberry and pineapple compote, two bananas, peanuts, sprinkles, whipped cream and cherries. Granted, while Coco + Hazel doesn’t make their own ice cream (instead, they source from Homestead Creamery in Wirtz, VA), all of their toppings, bakery items, waffle cones, etc are made fresh in-house, relying on co-owner Chelle Bravo’s experience as a baker at local Richmond favorites like Kitchen 64, Stella’s Grocery, and Perly’s. Needless to say, whether you’re looking for over-the-top confections or standard scoops in waffle cones, cups, or ice cream sandwiches, this is one ice cream shop that you won’t want to miss.
Tuckahoe Shopping Center
411 North Ridge Road, Richmond, VA 23229
Monday-Thursday, 7:30am – 9pm; Friday, 7:30am to 10pm; Saturday, 8am to 10pm; and Sunday, 9am – 9pm